Everyone come out from the cold with these skittering, moving and intense electro-acoustic workouts from Andrea Belfi. Natura Morta invites you inside and keeps you there. Nils Frahm handles the mastering with a microscope and brings everything to life. Recorded at the towering Funkhaus in Berlin. Out on Vinyl LP and CD.
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- Natura Morta by Andrea Belfi
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Here we have an electroacoustic album with one the most electroacoustic album titles I’ve seen. Translated to ‘dead nature’, Natura Morta is Italian dreamer Andrea Belfi’s latest voyage into the murky waters of sound art, sporting an atmosphere akin to rusting shipwrecks or similarly mysterious oceanic oddities. It’s a fitting name for an LP which feels as if all of the beauty of nature has been replaced by the lifeless reality of the earth’s core or a cold, remote sector of space.
That’s not to say that the record is lacking life. Well, I know I said that, but I didn’t mean it, alright? There’s a tense energy running through the whole, the feeling of moving objects reaching arbitrarily high speeds and starting to fall apart, if that makes any sense. The relatively soft pattering of drums propels bass, synth and feedback lines along varying currents of dynamics, sometimes sounding like a broken tape machine and like a deadly chant at others. For the first half of the record the layers remain quite restrained, coming to foamy climaxes at tracks 4 and 6. In fact the last track is a real noise monster and a great ending. Anyone familiar with Mamiffer’s last record will get this right away, and it could grab fans of Oren Ambarchi.
I like the fact that it is quite a lot more conventionally rhythmic than a lot of self-confessed electroacoustic music, but it does contain much less sonic variation. Within each track, the progress is minimal, perhaps because the most dynamic instrument, the synth, is locked to background atmospheric duty, limiting the possibilities. Overall a good dark exercise in underwater stillness that’s dead in the best way possible.
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